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Latest from UK Arts
19 December 2019
Thebe Magugu at International Fashion Showcase 2019. Photo credit Agnese Sanvito

2019 has been a busy and exciting year for British Council Arts. As the year draws to a close, we look back at some of our highlights. Have a wonderful festive break and we'll be back in 2020 with more programmes, inspiring arts stories and exciting opportunities for you.

Cathy Wilkes: British Pavilion 2019

At this year’s Venice Biennale we welcomed over 225,000 visitors to the British Pavilion, with a solo exhibition of installations, paintings and prints from artist Cathy Wilkes. The exhibition also reached 2.4 million people online. Why not join them by taking a digital tour yourself?

Watch now

Selector Radio Relaunch

Selector Radio brings the UK’s best new music to 4 million listeners in over 30 countries around the world every week. This year we relaunched the show with a fresh look and brand new presenter, UK music legend and BBC 1Xtra’s Jamz Supernova. Audiences around the world have enjoyed new sessions and interviews. And in the last few weeks, stations in Azerbaijan and India have started broadcasting Selector.

Listen now

International Fashion Showcase 2019

During London Fashion Week we presented work from the most exciting fashion talent from around the world at the International Fashion Showcase. Following the free public exhibition at London's Somerset House, we saw the exhibiting designers go on to achieve extraordinary recognition for their work, with Thebe Magugu becoming the first ever African recipient to be awarded the prestigious LVMH prize for emerging talent.

Learn more

IETM bursary programme

IETM is a major European networking event – ideal for artists and producers who want to expand their careers internationally. Our IETM bursary programme gives underrepresented groups grants to attend international performing arts networking events across Europe. This year we’ve awarded 53 grants to help make sure the UK is presented in all of its diversity on the world stage. And we're currently offering bursaries for minority ethnic creative practitioners to join the next meeting in Norway.

Apply now

International Literature Showcase 2019

2019 saw the launch of three showcases, highlighting the most exciting authors working in the UK today. Elif Shafak revealed her selection of ten women writers, Val McDermid celebrated ten LGBTQI+ writers and Scots Makar Jackie Kay announced her list of ten writers of colour. The showcases are still available to watch online including Jackie's selection here, and we'll be supporting the authors to travel to international literature events over the next year.

Learn more


We returned with the fifth edition of the world’s widest-reaching LGBTQ+ online film campaign in March 2019. Five films by emerging filmmakers from across the world were selected from the BFI Flare Festival programme and made available online for 11 days in recognition of the fact that Love is a Human Right. To date they’ve been watched by over 13 million people in more than 200 countries. #FiveFilms4Freedom returns in 2020 from 18-29 March. In other news, three new short films have been commissioned for the #MOREFilms4Freedom programme.

Learn more

Continuation of the Cultural Protection Fund

Last month we announced that new funding is available to existing and new grantees of our Cultural Protection Fund in partnership with DCMS. So far over 10,000 people have undertaken activities that increase understanding of, or engagement with, cultural heritage. By 2020, over 3,000 people will have received new skills thanks to the fund's initiatives. You have until 23 December 2019 to submit your expression of interest for this round.

Apply now

Creative Enterprise Programme

The Creative Enterprise Programme is a practical, capacity-building programme that supports creative entrepreneurs around the world and encourages sustainable and resilient livelihoods. In 2019 we proudly supported over 700 creative and cultural entrepreneurs by delivering 30 workshops in 12 countries; Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Turkey, Uganda and Ukraine.

Learn more

Lead Image: Thebe Magugu at International Fashion Showcase 2019. Photo credit Agnese Sanvito

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